Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Pirate Queen

I have met the most incredible woman.

It's all right, my wife isn't jealous. After all, Grace O'Malley has been dead for over four hundred years now. I, like many others over the past twenty or so years am just getting acquainted with her.

Grace O'Malley - known as Granuaile in her native Ireland - was a famous leader in the 16th century. Irish history has all but erased her memory because she dared to do things that civilized women just weren't supposed to do. Things like running a thriving shipping business, managing a Gaelic fiefdom. Oh, yes, and that piracy on the high seas thing.

Ironically, most of the information we have about Grace comes from accounts recorded by her rivals in England, which was in the process of reconquering Ireland during her lifetime. English state papers speak of her notoriety, her boldness, and preserved a detailed question-and-answer correspondence between the Pirate Queen O'Malley and the English monarch, Queen Elizabeth I. These queens later met face-to-face in London to try and settle the desperate situation Grace found herself in because of the English governor, Richard Bingham.

My interest in the pirate queen began when I started planning the third book in my Molly O'Malley trilogy. Wouldn't it be great if Molly, the twelve-year-old heroine who rescues dragons and befriends leprechauns during her vacations, was able to meet Grace O'Malley in person? Imagine what they might learn from each other!

Readers will get just that opportunity in July 2010 when Molly O'Malley and the Pirate Queen is published by Buried Treasure Publishing. There is much adventure, with sailing on a war galley, plots and attacks by the English, friends new and old, and a touch of time traveling.

While you're waiting, now would be a good time to read the first two books in the trilogy. Things have a tendency to come full circle, you know!

The Molly O'Malley Trilogy:
Molly O'Malley and the Leprechaun
Molly O'Malley: Rise of the Changeling

Molly O'Malley and the Pirate Queen

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Magic Trash Can

We have a magic trash can in our home. It's in the kitchen, oval, white, 13-gallon model.

I know it's magic because when I go out of town for a few days, you can put as much trash as you want into it and it never gets full. Ever.

No one complains, no one says anything, and no matter how much is crammed into or stacked on top or beside the magic trash can, it will still hold more. At least no one ever changes the bag.

However, the second I return, the magic trash can is full. Only when I am there. I sometimes wonder about that, because it looks to me like it must have been full before I got home. That's the magic. No one can empty the trash can but me.

I'm sure that our magic trash can was designed by professionals to be easily emptied by children, working moms, and pretty much anyone who is capable of putting trash into it in the first place. You don't have to be an engineering type or an information technology guru to figure out the process.

And yet, our trash can is never full, never in need of emptying until I am present. It's magic.

I'm not grousing over it, really I'm not. I don't have any particular aversion to bundling up the stinky garbage and carting it off to the garage. I'm happy to spread a fresh, clean bag into the trash can so that it looks empty to me, too.

I have an important role in our home. If part of that function includes taking out the trash, so be it. I will shoulder that burden gladly if it helps the family out.

Besides, if I rebel too loudly, I'm sure the subject of the magic clothes hamper will come up.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A true Irishman is never in a hurry

I haven't been blogging much recently, and I wanted to share with you the reasons why.

No, it's important, really it is. Everyone has good, solid reasons why they haven't gotten around to doing the small, but important things in their lives, don't they? As a writer, I should be able to add writer's block to my list or something equally convincing.

Actually, writer's block has little to do with my situation. I'm currently writing the third book in my Irish trilogy, Molly O'Malley and the Pirate Queen. I'm into chapter ten at the moment, and I'm on a roll. So it's not writer's block.

I took a few days out to enter a writing contest at my work, called Art/Work: Creativity from the Cube. They expanded it to include literary categories this year, so naturally I had to give it a try. I entered in four categories, won first place in two of them and placed second in the other two. You can read about it in my News and Events on my main website.

The main reason I can point to for not blogging is that my youngest daughter is getting married on July 4th. There are LOTS of activities associated with planning a wedding: finding the church, finding the minister, finding the dress, deciding who to invite, making the invitations, making the programs, making up gift baskets, designing the table centerpieces for the reception, reserving the tux, deciding the tux that I already own can be used by renting only the shirt, tie and vest the groomsmen are getting and saving $100, finding the reception hall, planning the food for the reception, making special gifts for the bride and groom that I can't tell you about right now, reserving the limo, and so on.

A word of advice to other bloggers out there: a wedding actually gives you a lot to write about.

I know there is a lot of personal stuff associated with a wedding, and many readers really aren't that interested in my personal stuff. I'm still trying to find my niche, though, and it's possible that many readers will actually be interested in the topic, and even my take on it.

The interesting thing about this wedding is that my daughter has an Irish background and her fiance's background is Scottish. So we're going to have a Celtic-themed wedding. We've made a weddin' ba, a Scottish tradition for the children attending who are too young to catch the bride's bouquet or the garter. It's essentially a round ball-shaped pinata filled with candy and coins.

I've made a PowerPoint show with pictures of both kids growing up, using an Irish font for their names. We're sharing an Irish blessing with guests who stay at a nearby hotel. We've made custom handkerchiefs for the tux pockets out of the groom's clan tartan.

Still, you get around to doing the things you want to do. Or that your loving spouse yells at you to do because you're busy doing other things. Bottom line, procrastination is all about finding excuses for not doing things early.

Here's an example: I just save the best things for last.